Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 22, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Queens Lawmakers Rally With Airport Workers

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik
City Councilmember Francisco Moya .

Queens lawmakers including U.S. Reps. Grace Meng and Carolyn Maloney; and City Council Members Barry Grodenchek and Francisco Moya will rally with JFK Airport workers as they seek health insurance benefits.

It will be a day of music, protest and prayers as workers also point out that airlines like American Airlines continue to use contractors like Eulen America that suppress aspiration of passenger service workers to gain union protection.

Six years after a pivotal MLK Day protest won them the day as a paid holiday and ignited their movement for dignity, respect, union rights protections, and economic justice, the workers find themselves at another crossroads. They have won victories they dared dream of in the intervening years but the lack of quality, affordable healthcare imperils much of their progress.

Their union, Local 32BJ SEIU, has made passing the Healthy Terminals Act in the New York and New Jersey state legislatures its priority in 2020. The bills would provide workers with benefits supplements compensation that the workers could use to acquire health insurance.

The rally is slated for 12 noon, today, Jan. 22 at the JFK Airport Terminal 8, Departures Level, Outer Roadway.

Holden Committee Hears Pending Legislation Concerning Data Oversite

City Council Member Bob Holden

City Council Member Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, parts of Woodside, Woodhaven), chair of the Committee on Technology, today will have the committee hear about a bill concerning oversite of city data and how it is used.

The measure would require submission by the Director of the Office of Data Analytics to the mayor and speaker of the city council an annual report describing data collected and maintained by city agencies.

The public hearing is slated for 10 a.m., today, Jan. 22 at 250 Broadway, 16th Floor Committee Room in Lower Manhattan.

Constantinides Committee Approves Bill to Monitor Lead in NYC Parks Soil 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, yesterday saw his committee pass a bill that requires soil to be tested at New York City Parks for lead whenever the Parks Department conducts a capital project. 

Yesterday’s unanimous vote pushed the legislation to the full City Council for a vote tomorrow at the body’s stated meeting. 

“Lead has left a harmful legacy in our City, one that continues to expose us to harmful toxins whenever we go for a drink of water or get some respite at a park,” said Constantinides, prime sponsor of Intro. 420-B. “This bill will guarantee we continue to monitor for lead and remediate it wherever high concentrations are found. I want to applaud and thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his leadership on combating lead contamination throughout New York City.” 

Constantinides introduced the bill in 2018 as part of a sweeping package of bills to remediate lead. The harmful substance has been banned in New York City for decades, but its remnants remain in some of the Big Apple’s older infrastructure. That includes parks located on formerly industrial sites or those in close proximity to highways, where cars spewed lead-fueled exhaust for decades. 

Gillibrand Recognized for Her Efforts to Defend Democracy From Dark Money

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced she received a 100% A+ rating on the 2019 legislative scorecard released last week by End Citizens United Action Fund. 

This designation recognizes her strong record of fighting the power of special interests in Washington. The scorecard tracks members’ support for legislation to end the dominance of big money in politics, restore ethics in Washington, and protect and expand the right to vote.

“We have to get money out of politics and have publicly funded elections. Every day, corporations and the wealthy spend millions of dollars to highjack our democracy,” said Gillibrand. “Clean elections would fix the rot and greed at the center of Washington and help restore power back to the people. I am proud that End Citizen’s United Action Fund has recognized my work to combat corruption, and I will continue doing everything I can to create a true representative democracy.”

Gillibrand has been a leader in government transparency and accountability since her first election to the House in 2006. Gillibrand was the first member of Congress to post her official meetings, personal financial disclosures, earmark requests, and taxes online. 

In 2019, Gillibrand rolled out a Clean Election Plan to create publicly funded federal elections. Gillibrand is also an original co-sponsor of the For the People Act (S. 949), a once-in-a-generation anti-corruption and government ethics reform bill that passed the House in March of 2019. 

Queens Acting Boro Pres Holds Public Hearing on Budget Priorities

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee and the Queens Borough Board next week will hold a public hearing on the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2021 Preliminary Expense and Capital Budget.

The purpose of the hearing will be to obtain the views and recommendations of the Community Boards, community stakeholders and the residents of Queens regarding the proposals contained in the Mayor’s FY21 Preliminary Budget. This input will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s budget priorities for FY21.

“The City’s budget outlines how municipal resources are allocated and is a key driver of how our City implements public policy,” said Lee. “The testimony presented during our budget priorities hearing will greatly help the Borough Board make a final recommendation on the City’s FY21 budget. All Queens residents are encouraged to participate in this important process that will help shape the future of our City.”

The Queens Borough Board is chaired by the Borough President and includes the members of the City Council representing Queens and the 14 chairs of the borough’s Community Boards. The City Charter requires the Borough Board to submit a document outlining its budget priorities each year to the Mayor, the City Council and the City’s Director of Management and Budget.

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Members of the general public are encouraged to testify.